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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Kicking on shaky ground

Place kickers have one of the most difficult jobs in football.

They stand around during games, kicking into a net with all kinds of time to think, then get called upon to kick a game-deciding 47-yard field goal off soggy turf into a swirling wind.

Make it? The quarterback gets interviewed for the spectacular drive he put together to get the team into field-goal range.

Miss it? You might find yourself out of a job the next week.

Maybe this actual scenario hasn’t happened to Bowling Green’s Shaun Suisham, but he has definitely found some difficulty in his job this season. He is 3-for-6 in field goal attempts, and has repeatedly sat on the sideline as coach Urban Meyer elects to play on fourth down in field goal range.

“Definitely [that concerns me],” Suisham said. “I have to get Coach Meyer to have complete confidence in me.”

Saturday against Kent, Suisham was 1-for-2, making a 25-yard kick in the second quarter and missing from 32 yards in the fourth quarter. Meyer twice elected to play on fourth down following Suisham’s kick in the second quarter, but the Falcons failed to convert both times.

“I don’t have enough trust in our field goal kicking to kick on fourth down,” said Meyer.

“I can’t say what [Meyer] is feeling, but I have confidence in my abilities,” Suisham said.

Part of Meyer’s decision to play on fourth downs is also aggressive play calling. One of Meyer’s top goals in his first season was to rejuvenate the stagnant Falcon offense. Giving his quarterbacks confidence by handing them the ball on fourth down is part of that.

However, that doesn’t ease the sting for Suisham. Certainly not following Saturday’s game.

“Today the snapper was great, the holder was great, the line blocked well. It is my fault. I just have to get better.”

Suisham’s improvement will be integral to the Falcons’ success this season and in coming years. The closest victory BG has had this year was in the season opener, 20-13 over Missouri. As the Falcons get better, they will be expected to beat other good teams, and that will mean taking the 40-plus yard field goal attempt against Marshall or Toledo with four seconds left, down 21-20. Against teams that make few mistakes, BG will have to make few mistakes. Any mistake that costs a team points could cause them to lose a close game.

After Suisham missed his fourth quarter attempt, he stood by himself behind the Falcon bench, his helmet still on. Meyer has gone so far in his search for kicking answers as to ask punter Pat Fleming to help with kickoffs earlier this season. Fleming had no previous experience kicking off and the idea was scrapped.

Suisham would like the answer to the Falcons’ kicking game to be much simpler: Himself.

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